Modernist Designers Series / Sam Maloof

This month’s designer hails from our very own state of California. Meet the man behind some of the most defining wood craftsmanship of the mid-century.

(   source   )

Sam Maloof (1916-2009)
United States
Designer, Craftsman

Sam Maloof was born in Chino, California with a natural talent for woodworking.

Following his service in the army during World War II, Maloof earned a position at a local college art department, where he began designing and crafting furniture. When his creations appeared in Better Homes & Gardens magazine and the LA Times, the custom orders came flooding in and never stopped.

Of the designs he created during this time, Maloof was best known for his rocking chairs, some of which even appeared in the White House for use by Presidents Reagan and Carter.

Walnut rocking chair, 1977  (   source   )

Walnut rocking chair, 1977 (source)

Though his work continued to develop throughout the Crafts movement, you can see an undeniable modern influence on his style — the simplicity of form, the focus on function, and the way he brought out the beauty of natural materials.

Rosewood Rocking Chair, 1963  (   source   )

Rosewood Rocking Chair, 1963 (source)

In 1953, Maloof began building and furnishing his own home with his wife, Alfreda. In 2000, a freeway extension project (the 210) required he move their Alta Loma home, which was later recognized as a historic property.

Music Stand and Chair from the Maloof House, 1969 and 1972  (   source   )

Music Stand and Chair from the Maloof House, 1969 and 1972 (source)

He relocated to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, where anyone can tour the 22-room estate today, complete with his own handcrafted spiral staircase.

More Modern Designs by Sam Maloof

Loveseat in Maple, 1992  (   source   )

Loveseat in Maple, 1992 (source)

Leather Lounge Chair and Ottoman, 1960s  (   source   )

Leather Lounge Chair and Ottoman, 1960s (source)

Hornback Chairs in Walnut, 1960s  (   source   )

Hornback Chairs in Walnut, 1960s (source)

Coffee table in Ash, 1954  (   source   )

Coffee table in Ash, 1954 (source)

Free Standing Cradle in Walnut, 1977  (   source   )

Free Standing Cradle in Walnut, 1977 (source)

Keep an eye out for our next featured designer in September…

In the meantime, who are your favorite modern designers so far?